Tuesday, 1 February 2011


As the Storyville documentary broadcast on BBC4 last night made abundantly clear, the key movers in the Climate Change Scepticism movement all cluster together on the political hard right. Several studies have proven that watching Fox News makes you progressively more stupid - and which network has been most active in attacking the climate change science? Yep - good old Rupert Murdoch's neo-fascist channel.

In the UK, there is a remarkable overlap between climate change denial and those who were close to Margaret Thatcher during her premiership. Which suggests that the issue isn't about whether the climate is changing, global temperatures rising, and the most likely cause being CO2 emissions. No - the argument is really about whether we take any responsibility for all this or not. On the weirder fringes of right-wing politics, they consider this to be an issue of "freedom".

So, in order for them to have the "freedom" to do whatever they like, millions - perhaps billions - of people will have to suffer, and who knows what future generations will be up against. Just to secure these maniacs an illusion of "freedom".

Perish the thought that governments should do what the vast majority of scientists insist that they should - take steps to limit the damage done by our own actions. No, that would be "Hitlerish". Better to let non-scientists cast doubt on the hard and fast scientific data. Better to let demagogues mislead the people.

Heigh-ho - quite similar to Wind Farm Myth-Mongering, then. In fact, there is a clear crossover between climate change scepticism and anti-windfarm bullshit.

It seems that Karen Lumley MP is not the only Conservative backbencher to have developed an irrational grudge against wind energy and to have abused her position in order to support a discredited nimby group. Andrea Leadsom is also leading the charge against wind power on behalf of a narrow-minded, right-wing minority.

In a parliamentary debate before the Backbench Business Committee, Leadsom did her best to claim that windfarm developers are only in it for a "fast buck". Now, normally, that sort of behaviour appeals to Tories immensely. It's called "enterprise". But apparently, where windfarms are concerned, this is a Bad Thing.

It's also nonsense, of course, because anyone looking for a "fast buck" probably wouldn't go through that painful and frustrating process of trying to get a windfarm accepted in the face of Nimby liars and thugs.

Leadsom also rehashed those myths about other countries - France, in this case, and Denmark, "Europe's leading onshore wind farm perpetrator" (yes, you heard that right: "perpetrator") - giving up on wind power. Well, during the period that Leadsom and her fellow nutters think Denmark gave up on wind energy, the Danes in fact replaced all their old turbines with new ones and in 2009 added another 82 megawatts of installed wind capacity. That same year, France installed a staggering 1,090 megawatts of wind capacity. In the twelve years between 1997 and 2009, Denmark perpetrated so much wind power that the costs of electricity generation in that country fell by 25%.

Typical of the Tory right, Leadsom fails to understand the Renewable Obligation Certificates and bigs up the "subsidies" which so many windfarm developers allegedly crave. As we've said before, renewable energy generators only receive subsidies for the electricity they have actually produced. The incentive is not to put up a windfarm, but to make sure that a windfarm generates electricity. By insisting on not getting this basic, elementary fact, the right-wingers prove that they have no interest in the issues and are arguing purely on ideological grounds.

Leadsom also seems to think that windfarms come in one variety - "240-foot wind turbines, 10 of them, 400 feet from your house." There will be a special reward for anybody who can identify a single UK windfarm which meets these criteria. Even allowing for the fact that Andrea Leadsom can't tell the difference between feet and metres, it's still wildly inaccurate and outrageously implausible.

Furthermore, Leadsom remarked that wind turbines have a "25-year life" and yet are "irreversible". That's just the sort of mind-twisting, self-contradictory nonsense that we've come to expect from VVASP. A bit like the claims that windfarms "don't work" and are "only built because of subsidies" (one or the other, guys - you can't have both). So, does Leadsom think that turbines die after twenty-five years? And then what - they just stay there for ever and ever? Is this woman quite mad?

The problem, of course, is that the dogmatic, irrational and utterly mendacious opposition to wind power is difficult to separate from the extremist stance of the climate change sceptics. It's a right-wing backlash that we're witnessing here. A colossal misunderstanding of the concept of "freedom". And a willingness to tell loud lies in order to make everything much worse for everybody.

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